love bite: h5o

While exploring downtown on a date, I spy an enormous rainbow peeking through the tall buildings and shifting sunlight, ending at the west side of the Willamette river. We hungrily chase the rainbow for blocks, laughing and running through “do not walk” signs, hoping for a better view as it fades into the sky.  By the time we get to the waterfront, the rainbow has already disappeared, but our hunger has not. We look up and strike gold – happy hour at H5O is happening now! H5O, located within Hotel 50, and just across the street from the waterfront, has a happy hour that is well priced, filled with fancy people on vacation, and is just blocks from Pioneer Square. I love that H5O has many options for vegetarians and omnivores, and uses loads of local and organic produce in their menu.

Order a mountain of truffle oil french fries ($4), shared easily between two ravenous diners, and ask for the house red ($6), for a generous pour of wine. “The Salad” ($3), is meager but pretty, with a refreshing vinaigrette of honey and shallot.  The dungeness crab roll ($5), has some of the freshest crab I have tasted lately, paired with avocado and pickled mango. My date orders (and avidly compliments) the tomato bisque, made with rich cream and organic tomatoes. It arrives a vivid orange color, topped with chopped basil.


Always of fan of a chic pink drink, I order the Cosmo-Not ($8), made with house-infused beet  vodka. The visual effect is more similar to a bloody mary (I don’t get to hold a pink drink after all), but tastes fresh and is strong without being overpowering.

Inside H5O, the waitstaff is impeccably dressed, and accommodating for substitutions (some restaurant happy hours will not accommodate menu substitutions, which can make or break your meal options if you have food allergies, like me) The decor is very modern- everything is shiny and new, with placemats that look like a million melted plastic yellow paperclips, and an impressive indoor crushed glass fireplace to sit around when it gets chilly. I am not a fan of the two televisions screens above the bar, or the parking lot view (try to snag a communal bench spot); but overall, the ambiance is high energy, and the music is upbeat. This is a place where you can dress up a bit and be surrounded by others on holiday- ready to jet off for a movie or shopping spree. Fab.

Happy hour is Monday-Saturday, 3-7pm and 9-close, and all day Sunday. Let’s go!



H5O Bistro & Bar
50 Southwest Morrison Street
Portland, Oregon 97204
503.484.1415

recipe: granola for life

Warning! If you are currently satisfied with the granola you already eat, do not read this post! Otherwise, you may never go back to your old granola again. This granola recipe is full of Omega-3’s, protein, healthy fats, fiber, and has just the right amount of crunch and sweetness. It was originally inspired by a childhood trip to The Inn at Occidental, a small Northern California Inn, where the granola was served to me as a child in a massive bowl. I remember feeling full of vitality and energy while riding a horse on the beach later that day. Whether it was the pure adrenaline of horseback riding, or the protein in the granola, it did not matter. I was full of life and felt vibrant! This granola should have you raring to go with energy all day, and is not as sweet as some other granolas. Ditch that boxed granola and never look back.

Ingredients

2.5 C. Rolled Oats
1/2 C. Pecans, roughly chopped
1/2 C. Raw almonds, roughly chopped
1/2 C. Raw walnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 C. Sesame seeds
1/2 C. Sunflower Seeds
1/2 C. Shredded Coconut
1/3 C. Coconut Oil
1/3 C. Honey
1/4 C. Ground flax seeds
1/2 C. Currants
1/2 C. Golden raisins

Directions

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients except flax, currants, and golden raisins. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, with a rack in the center of the oven. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine coconut oil and honey, stirring until the coconut oil has melted and the oil and honey are somewhat combined. Remove from heat and pour over dry ingredients, mixing together with a wooden spoon. On a large rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, spread granola mixture evenly, and bake in the oven for 20-25 mins, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through baking.
Granola will look golden brown when done, but will not look crispy. Remove from oven and sprinkle curants, raisins, and flax on top, roughly combining with a wooden spoon. Allow it to cool before removing from pan. Granola should keep, regrigerated (omega rich foods, like ground flax seeds, are not stable at room temperature) for 10-14 days.

Facts

Why use coconut oil? Coconut oil is easy to digest, maintains thyroid health, as well as lowers your LDL (bad Cholesterol) levels. It contains 50% lauric acid, which is known to help control high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Coconut oil has also been shown to help your body absorb vitamins, minerals, and amino acids (if you add blueberries to the granola, you will absorb even more antioxidants), and can even help prevent viruses, due to its fabulous antimicrobial properties. How cool is that?

recipe: dreamy whole grain bread

You know the texture of the center of a really fresh bread roll that is served at Mom and Pop Italian restaurants? This loaf of bread mimics that soft, doughy texture without gluten, and with loads of nutrients. There are some confounding ingredients used (Teff? Psyllium seed husks? Ah!), but I highly recommend avoiding ingredient substitutions, as this recipe will yield the tenderest, dreamy bread. Go forth and make sandwiches, french toast (recipe coming soon), and bask in the goodness of bread.

Ingredients

2 C. Brown rice flour
1/2 C. Teff
1/2 C. Garbanzo flour
1/4 C. Psyllium seed husks
1/2 C. Potato starch
1 Tsp. Xantham gum
1 Tsp. Salt
3 Tbsp. Honey
1 Tsp Active dry yeast
2 1/2 C. Hot Water (110-115 degrees F)

Directions

In a large bowl, combine all flours (rice, teff, garbanzo, psyllium, potato, xantham, and salt). Whisk together until blended evenly, eliminating any lumps! In a medium sized bowl, combine hot water and active dry yeast. Allow to bubble for a minute or so, then whisk in the honey. It is important not to skimp on the honey (even if you are  cautious about sugar intake, for the love of god, at least use 1 tablespoon) to activate the yeast. The liquids should be frothy and ready to pour over the dry ingredients. Whisk the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, blending evenly until smooth and just combined. Do not whisk too long, or your bread will be less tender. The dough will not be very thick, and is closer to the consistency of muffin or waffle batter. 
Allow bread to rise in a warm spot in the house, covering with a warm, damp dishtowel (without the cloth actually touching the dough), for 2 hours. What you do with this time is up to you! Watch a foreign film, go running, do yoga, pet the cat. Send good rising thoughts to your future loaf. You may peek occasionally at the dough to see how it is doing, but try to to look too long, or it will disrupt the rising.
15 mins before the bread is done rising, preheat the oven to 450 degrees, with a rack in the center of the oven. Oil a small glass baking dish or metal loaf pan with canola or coconut oil. I use a 9×5.25×1.75″ glass dish, but some variation in size is fine. When the oven is fully preheated and the dough has risen (it should have almost doubled in size), gently push the dough out of the bowl and into the baking dish. You may smooth over the top with a spatula for a smooth finish. Place in the oven and bake for 45-55mins. Avoid checking the bread until at least 35 mins have passed, so as not to disrupt the baking process. When the bread is fully done, it will be medium to golden brown on top, and will make a hollow noise when tapped with your knuckles. It will still be soft inside. Place your baked loaf on a metal rack on the counter to cool fully before sampling. Enjoy your dreamy whole grain bread!

Facts

Teff is very high in calcium, protein, and fiber, and adds that wonderful nutty taste to the loaf. It also has a great amino acid composition – important for the vegans among us who cannot get this from meat!

Psyllium seed husks are very high in fiber. Some people use them for crazy colon cleanses, eating tablespoons per day…this sounds a bit extreme, so I prefer to add a little to bread. Psyllium also acts as a binding agent, holding in moisture and preventing your bread from pathetically crumbling to bits. Some new research shows that psyllium husks may be helpful in lowering LDL cholesterol (the bad kind of cholesterol) and diabetes.

recipe: almond milk

Let’s face it, soy milk can get boring after a while. When I try to purchase almond milk, I get a little scared of the bizarre ingredients used to preserve it. Shouldn’t it be as simple as almonds and water? I took action and made some myself. This is great for drinking, adding to tea, or breakfast cereal!

Ingredients
1 C. Raw organic almonds
3-4 C. water.
1-2 Tbsp. agave nectar, to taste (or use none at all for unsweetened almond milk)
1 Tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

Soak almonds in 2 cups water in the fridge overnight, or at least 10 hours. Strain soaked almonds in a fine mesh strainer, discarding the liquid. In a blender, combine almonds, vanilla, agave (if using),  and about 3 cups of water. I have a 4 cup blender, so I add water until it reaches the 4 cup line. A little more or less with still taste great. Blend for at least one minute, until smooth.
Straining the almond milk can be messy and tricky if you don’t have the right set up. On a clean counter, set out a medium sized bowl, a fine mesh strainer, and a double layer of cheese cloth (at least a 10 inch square) OR an almond nut milk bag. Layer the cheesecloth/bag over the mesh strainer and the strainer over the bowl. Slowly pour the contents of the blender over your strainer setup, directly through the middle of the cheesecloth or bag. Squeeze excess liquid from the cheesecloth/bag, bundling the edges of cloth together so the almond pulp does not escape. The leftover almond pulp can be saved, refrigerated, and added to oatmeal, pancakes, or baked goods! Keep almond milk in the fridge, and shake before using.
Tips
I purchased an almond milk bag because I make this recipe frequently, and it is difficult to reuse cheesecloth. Buying so much cheesecloth would be wasteful! I found a great one from Alive and Aware, but I bet you could also find them at a local co-op. Brazil nuts work really well in this recipe too! The milk is even creamier than almond milk!

recipe: chia seed pudding

Chia seeds? Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia? Yes, you can eat them. If soaked in liquid for at least an hour, they transform into a substance that is very similar to tapioca pudding, a favorite dessert of mine that is difficult to make vegan. This is creamy, filling, and extremely satisfying when pudding cravings strike fiercely. Eat it on its own, or layer with fruit and granola for a dreamy parfait.

Chia Pudding

Ingredients
4 Tbsp. Chia seeds
1 C. Coconut milk
2 Tbsp. Agave syrup
1 Tsp. Vanilla extract (or 1/2 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out)
1 Tsp. cinnamon (optional)

Directions
In a 16oz mason jar, thoroughly combine all ingredients, stirring with a spoon, then shaking vigorously. Don’t forget to put the lid on! Refrigerate at least one hour. It is normal for the ingredients to start to separate in the fridge, especially if you make larger batches of Chia Pudding. Simply stir with a spoon, and it is perfect again.

Tips
To make chocolate chia pudding, substitute the cinnamon and agave for 2 Tbsp organic chocolate syrup. I love Holykakow, which is an organic Portland brand. For a lower fat pudding, you can use store bought or homemade almond milk instead of coconut milk.

Facts
Chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse, with 4 grams of fiber per tablespoon (flax seed only has 2), nearly twice the amount of antioxidants as blueberries, and 2.4g (150%) of your daily Omega-3 intake! If I could exist off of one food, it would probably be chia pudding.